QUEENS — Long Island City is taking off.
A massive and controversial JetBlue sign has taken its place atop the airline's new headquarters in Long Island City, further changing the neighborhood's skyline, which is already dotted with many new high-rises and hotels.
The sign was installed over the weekend at the historic Brewster Building, at 27-01 Queens Plaza North, but has not been lit yet.
“The sign is in the end stages of construction right now. It’s almost completed,” said Allison Steinberg, a JetBlue spokeswoman. “We will be testing the lighting soon."
The airline moved its headquarters from Forest Hills to Long Island City earlier this year and sought a zoning change to allow it to erect an enormous L.E.D. “JetBlue” sign on the rooftop of its building.
The zoning change was approved by the City Council in April and paves the way for similar signs to begin dotting the landscape.
With 1,000 employees in Long Island City, JetBlue has become one of the largest employers in the neighborhood. Local businesses and eateries say they have seen a spike in clientele since the airline’s arrival. They hope the sign will help attract even more customers.
“It brings more attention to the building and to the area,” said George Benavente, 21, who works for MetLife, which shares the building with JetBlue.
The owner of Queens Plaza Optical on Queens Plaza South, who introduced himself as Gregory, said the sign was not visible from “his” side of Queens Plaza because of the elevated train tracks.
“I wish they also had something on the street level, so that pedestrians and drivers could see it,” he said.
The airline said earlier it wanted its neon to be as memorable as the other eye-catching signs in the area, such as Pepsi, IDCNY and Silvercup Studios, and had designed it to be in line with their look: Individually cut letters mounted on an open frame structure with each letter formed out of a steel box with an acrylic face. The tallest letter is 25 feet high.
The sign will be blue during the day and bright white at night.
“We think it looks fantastic,” said Gayle Baron, president of LIC Partnership. “We believe it’s just another iconic sign that will help brand Long Island City as well as Jet Blue.”